To Slaw or Not to Slaw? The US and Oz in linguistic maps

I came across this great collection of linguistic maps of the US. They are just fascinating.

So I thought I’d answer the same questions for Australia. And by “Australia”, I of course mean “me”. (Other Australians, particularly from outside my Christian bubble in the North Shore bubble in the Sydney bubble, please feel free to correct me!)

What is your generic term for a sweetened carbonated beverage?

Aus soft drink


What do you call the miniature lobster that one finds in lakes and streams for example (a crustacean of the family Astacidae)?

Aus soft drink

Seriously, what are they even talking about? I have no words for this mini lobster. (Why would you want mini lobsters anyway? We already have The Big Lobster. Mini lobsters must be for wimps.)


What do you call a traffic situation in which several roads meet in a circle and you have to get off at a certain point?

Aus you

That’s right Utah, it’s a roundabout. (Though what happened to the Dakotas? (As I’m told the cool kids call them.) Are there no “several roads meeting in a circle”?)


What do you call the thing from which you might drink water in a school?

Aus bubbler

I had no idea Australia had so much in common with east Wisconsin or Rhode Island! (I had to look both of those states up…)


What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?


Aus you

Most of America doesn’t have the word “sunshower”? How do they describe those beautiful late showers like makes the rain look like fairy dust? It makes me sad.

Far more worrying though is that one of the answers is “the devil is beating his wife”. Just let that sink in… “the devil is beating his wife.” Alabama, what were you thinking?


Can you call coleslaw “slaw”?

Aus soft drink

To be honest, I’m a bit worried that most of America thinks you can’t call Coleslaw “slaw”. I mean, I could understand if they thought you shouldn’t, but that you can’t? I think their underestimate their powers.


What do you call a drive-through liquor store?

Aus bubbler

The answer is, of course, “[insert crude joke implying endemic alcoholism here.]”


How do you pronounce Mary/merry/marry?

Aus bubblerSurely they are all different! Mary is Mair-y, merry is me-rry, and marry is ma-rry.


So what can we learn from this? Well, I’ve learnt that Australia has an unexpected affinity with Utah, Wisconsion and Rhode Island. This, I assume, can only be good news.

And perhaps the next time someone suggests that Australia is becoming too “Americanised”, y’all can tell them about the brew-thru on the rotary you went to when the devil was beating his wife, which has the best crawdad and slaw.



5 responses to “To Slaw or Not to Slaw? The US and Oz in linguistic maps

  1. The map is wrong, what we really call traffic circles is “Stupid” modified by a bunch of unprintable modifiers. 🙂 But then I grew up in Indiana-that has 1 lived in North Dakota, Montana, Kansas, and Nebraska, don’t think I’ve seen one since Indianapolis..

    For the rest, good stuff 🙂

  2. In Australia we call these “miniature lobster” type creatures “yabbies”. It is an essential part of any rural australian’s childhood to go yabby fishing with some meat on a string – yummy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s